Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 245 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/15/2024

Project Features

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The 245 people living in this area of Futsi Fuvili rely on the Isaiah Mwinami Spring to meet their daily water needs, but because of its current condition, it does not operate efficiently and offers drinking water that often makes people sick.

"Due to water being contaminated, the community members end up spending their little hard-earned money on medication, thus contributing to persistent poverty levels," said our field officer Betty Muhongo.

"Personally, I have spent a lot of money on medication treating typhoid," said 44-year-old farmer Mary Soita, shown below carrying water home.

Attempts were made previously by another entity to protect the spring, but they did it incorrectly, and since then, the spring has fallen into disrepair. Runoff from nearby farms runs into the water, and there is no fence to keep animals away. The spring box does not drain properly, causing algae to build up on the spring floor, making it slippery, especially for people who must step into the water to collect.  The stairs are crumbling, and water does not flow from the pipes consistently.

All these factors contribute to time wasted by community members who need that vital time for other important tasks like working, attending school, and keeping their homes.

There is water available throughout the year since this spring is not seasonal, unlike many other water sources in the area, but we must rebuild the entire structure to ensure that community members can more easily collect water from a safe source.

"At the beginning of this year, most of the springs around had no water, and since our spring is not seasonal, they had to draw water from the spring. I really wasted my precious time because I need to ensure that there is enough water at home. My performance has really gone down, and it's my humble prayer that you help us protect the spring," said 14-year-old Samuel K, shown below at the deteriorating spring.

With proper protection, community members will be able to quickly collect sufficient, safe water for their needs and get back to accomplishing their daily tasks and hopefully will even be able to improve their lives.

During our training sessions with the community, we will also be sure to share specific issues we've identified that need to improve for this project to be a success. Farming must stop near the spring, and people must take advantage of the chlorine dispenser already at the spring.

"I will be the happiest person in this community when our spring will be protected. I have suffered enough," concluded Mary.

What We Can Do:

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will help provide access to cleaner and safer water and reduce the time people have to spend to fetch it. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water. With the community's high involvement in the process, there should be a good sense of responsibility and ownership for the new clean water source.

Fetching water is a task predominantly carried out by women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will, therefore, help empower the female members of the community by freeing up more of their time and energy to engage and invest in income-generating activities and their education.

Training on Health, Hygiene and More

To hold training, we work closely with both community leaders and the local government to approve small groups to attend training. We ask community leaders to invite a select yet representative group of people to attend training who will then act as ambassadors to the rest of the community to share what they learn.

The training will focus on improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits in this community. With the community's input, we will identify key leverage points where they can alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help to ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water point as soon as water is flowing.

Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train community members. Some of these methods include participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, asset-based community development, group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring.

One of the most important issues we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. We and the community strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve living standards here, which will help to unlock the potential for these community members to live better, healthier lives.

We will then conduct a small series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Training will result in the formation of a water user committee, elected by their peers, that will oversee the operations and maintenance of the spring. The committee will enforce proper behavior around the spring and delegate tasks that will help preserve the site, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage channels. The fence will keep out destructive animals and unwanted waste, and the drainage will keep the area's mosquito population at a minimum.

Project Updates

May, 2023: Futsi Fuvili Community Spring Protection Complete!

Futsi Fuvili Community now has access to clean water! Thanks to your donation, we transformed Isaiah Mwinami Spring into a flowing source of naturally filtered water. We also installed a chlorine dispenser to provide added protection and trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for community members to live better, healthier lives in the future.

"Access to flowing water that has been improved will save me a lot of time, and it also gives me peace of mind knowing that the water flowing in here is safe from human and animal interference," said 45-year-old farmer Mary Soita, whom we interviewed when we first visited Futsi Fuvili.

Mary rinsing her hands at the spring.

Children were just as excited as adults about the new waterpoint.

"The spring now discharges water faster, and I think I will be spending a lot less time here trying to fetch water," said 15-year-old Samuel K., whom we also spoke to on our first visit to the community. "Now that I will not be spending a lot of time here, I will try and convert that time to read[ing] more, as I just joined a new class, and also spend[ing] more time with my friends and family."

Samuel stands outside the spring's new fence.

Preparing for Spring Protection

Community members worked together to source and carry all locally available construction materials to the spring. These included bricks, sand, stones, and fencing poles. Some people also chiseled away at large rocks to break them into gravel. Because people have to carry most items by hand, the material-collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

When the community was ready, we sent a truck to deliver the remaining construction materials, including cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our construction artisan and field officers deployed to the spring to begin work. Individual households provided meals throughout each day to sustain the work team.

From Open Source to Protected Spring: A Step-by-Step Process

First, we cleared and excavated the spring area. Next, we dug a drainage channel below the spring and several runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert surface contaminants away.

To ensure community members could still access water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary channels around the construction site from the spring's eye. This allowed water to flow without disrupting community members' tasks or the construction work. Excavation created space for setting the spring's foundation, made of thick plastic, wire mesh, concrete, and waterproof cement.

Foundation work.

After establishing the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and stairs. Once the walls had grown tall enough, we began one of the most crucial steps: setting the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe needs to be positioned low enough in the headwall so the water level never rises above the spring's eye, yet high enough to allow room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact, which prevents cross-contamination.

If we place the discharge pipe too high above the spring's eye, back pressure could force water to emerge elsewhere. Too low, and community members would not be able to access the water easily. We embedded the pipe using clay (or mortar when the clay is in short supply) and placed it at an incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

In coordination with brickwork, we pitched stones on both sides of the spring's drainage channel. We then cemented and plastered each stone, forming the rub walls. These walls discourage people and animals from standing in that area, which could cause soil erosion and a clogged drainage area.

We then cemented and plastered both sides of the headwall and wing walls. These finishing layers reinforce the brickwork and prevent water in the reservoir from seeping through the walls. In turn, enough pressure builds in the reservoir box to push water out through the discharge pipe.


As the headwall and wing walls cured, we cemented and plastered the stairs and installed four tiles beneath the discharge pipe. The tiles protect the concrete from the falling water's erosive force while beautifying the spring and facilitating easy cleaning of the spring floor.

The final stage of construction is backfilling the reservoir box behind the discharge pipe. We cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen during construction. Then we redirected the temporary diversion channels back into the reservoir box, channeling water into this area for the first time. We close all other exits to force water through only the discharge pipe.

We filled the reservoir area with the large, clean stones community members had gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle. We covered the rocks with a thick plastic to minimize potential contamination sources, then piled enough dirt on top to compensate for future settling.

Community members transplanted grass onto the backfilled soil to help prevent erosion. The collection area was fenced to discourage any person or animal from walking on it. Compaction can lead to disturbances in the backfill layers and potentially compromise water quality.

The construction process took about two weeks of work and patience to allow the cement and plaster to finish curing. As soon as the spring was ready, people got the okay from their local field officers to fetch water.

We officially handed over the spring to mark the community's ownership of the water point. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

The completed spring.

Field officer Betty gave more details of the ceremony: "After the completion of construction and protection of the water point, the staff in charge, together with the artisans, community members, and community officials, held a small ceremony at the water point with song and dance as the spring was officially handed over to the community members. The facilitator reminded them not to forget their training and to be each other's keeper[s]."

Training on Health, Hygiene, and More

Together with the community, we found their preferred date for training while considering other community calendar events, such as the agricultural season and social events. We requested a representative group of community members to attend training and relay the information learned to the rest of their families and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators Betty and Stella deployed to the site to lead the event. 17 people attended the training, including 11 women and six men. We held the training on a community member's farm.

We covered several topics, including community participation in the project, leadership and governance, personal and environmental hygiene, water handling and treatment, spring maintenance, dental hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing, disease prevention, and how to make and use handwashing stations.

During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders, who will oversee the maintenance of the spring. We also brainstormed income-generating activities. Community members can now start a group savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group, enabling them to develop small businesses.

The community members were interested to learn about water handling and storage. Before the spring's protection, community members had been storing their water without paying attention to how long it had been in the containers and without cleaning the containers between uses, which may have contributed to the high numbers of water-related illnesses in the community. Community members had become very good at limiting their water use to prevent having to wait in line at the spring, but now people shouldn't have to wait in line any longer.

Mary demonstrates brushing her teeth.

"During the demonstration for oral hygiene practices, one participant was brushing his teeth like he was fighting for his life, much to the amusement of the entire group," field officer Betty said. "He even went on to rinse his mouth with the help of his fingers. It was later discovered that most of them employ the same technique to do oral cleaning. The facilitator took them through a better and less vigorous method that had better results and was easy on the gums."

"I have just realized that sometimes I do harm myself unknowingly," said training participant Janipher, 49. "It could go for weeks before I clean [my water storage] container, and it always was dirty with sand or worms! I am a little embarrassed. Without this training, I would have stayed in the dark a lot longer."


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. When an issue arises concerning the spring, the water user committee is equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

March, 2023: Futsi Fuvili Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Futsi Fuvili Community drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

Project Photos

Project Type

Springs are water sources that come from deep underground, where the water is filtered through natural layers until it is clean enough to drink. Once the water pushes through the surface of the Earth, however, outside elements like waste and runoff can contaminate the water quickly. We protect spring sources from contamination with a simple waterproof cement structure surrounding layers of clay, stone, and soil. This construction channels the spring’s water through a discharge pipe, making water collection easier, faster, and cleaner. Each spring protection also includes a chlorine dispenser at the waterpoint so community members can be assured that the water they are drinking is entirely safe. Learn more here!


Project Underwriter - Redwood Chapel
International Studies Magnet School
Nebraska IORG's Campaign for Water
Phalen’s Campaign for Water

And 1 other fundraising page(s)
14 individual donor(s)